Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Hysterical, 180g Blue Swirl LP
Assessing anything indie maverick Clap Your Hands Say Yeah puts out requires addressing that it was one of the first bands to self-release online. That fact bathed its self-titled debut in a rare glow of novelty, not to mention that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was an outstanding record anyway. After such widespread critical awe, it’s no wonder CYHSY’s subsequent release, Some Loud Thunder, wasn’t nearly as well received. So Alec Ounsworth and his bandmates did what any self-respecting musicians do after a sophomore slump: They “took a break to pursue side projects.”
Fortunately, the band reconvened three years later to make a record with John Congleton, who has produced albums by The Walkmen, Smog, and Okkervil River, among many others. Whether it’s his streamlining influence or the band’s matriculation during (finally) years of no pressure or hype, Hysterical is anything but. Ounsworth’s tenor achieves new heights, on par with singers like Muse’s Matthew Bellamy and occasionally—step aside, Wainiacs—Rufus Wainwright. Hysterical is an accessible album of emphatic miniature orchestras with smooth transitions within and between songs.